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The-Opioid-Epidemic (Demo)

Can Opioid Withdrawal Kill You?

Opioid withdrawal will rarely kill anyone, but in some cases the person undergoing the process of withdrawal might think they were better off dead. This is because the symptoms can be very unpleasant, especially if the person tries to go “cold turkey” and give up suddenly, as compared with lowering their dose of opioid medication over time and in a structured way.

Underlying poor health

 Underlying poor health might be a cause of death during the withdrawal process, especially if someone has neglected themselves as a result of their addiction. There have been tales of drug withdrawal killing people, but there is little scientific evidence to support this in relation to most opioids. have been some indications that rapid withdrawal from methadone may kill, but again, only if it has been taken in very high doses for a long period of time and is suddenly stopped.  Many addicts are in poor health due to injecting the drugs, needle sharing, injection site infection, gangrene, or blood infections as a result of injection. This is not only true in the case of heroin users, but those who use and abuse opioids, including oxymorphone.

Drug-supported withdrawal from opioids

Methadone is most commonly used to help heroin addicts give up their habit. Heroin is derived from the opium poppy, as are opioids, so methadone is also used to help opioid addicts withdraw from their drug use in a structured way over a period of time. This tends to be more successful and less traumatic than going “cold turkey.”  Methadone is usually administered at a rehab clinic in a structure manner and on a tight schedule. Stopping methadone suddenly while a person is in the process of getting weaned off opioids could result in a sudden shock to the system.

Other drug support

Other drugs can be used to support an addict as they go through their detoxification and withdrawal process.  Buprenorphine can be administered through a doctor’s office, so offer support for those dealing with their addiction on an out-patient basis. Buprenorphine is actually an opioid, so there is some potential for abuse.  For this reason, it is usually combined with naloxone, which curbs cravings and blocks the addicting effects of the drug.  Clonidine is typically a high blood pressure medication, but it has been found to help with the typical symptoms of opioid withdrawal.  Taking medications exactly as prescribed can reduce any dangers of detox and withdrawal.

Other supportive care

Other supportive care should address the typical symptoms of opioid drug withdrawal, including:

  • Chills
  • Cold sweats and shivering
  • Muscle aches
  • Bone pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Insomnia

Cold and flu remedies can help. Staying hydrated will relieve the nausea and vomiting, as can anti-nausea medications. Antidiarrheals can help with digestive issues. A good sleep routine that calms a person before going to bed, such as a hot bath or some herbal tea can all help.  Natural pain relief methods such as meditation, exercise and massage can all help with any pain once the opioids are given up.  There are several different all-natural options to assist in opioid withdrawals.  In recent years Kratom has become more popular, but is under constant attack by the FDA, and no one is sure why.  Kratom is an herb from Indonesia that reacts with the opioid receptors in the brain.  It fools your body into thinking that it is getting the opioids when in fact the kratom is just relieving the physical effects of withdrawal. It can reduce they symptom of withdrawal by up to 90% according to reports.  Reducing the discomfort from withdrawal, makes it easier to work through  Your brain can concentrate on getting away from  This is a much better options than giving someone who is already addicted to opioids, another opioid.

Kratom has been around for thousands of years.  The people of southeast Asia chew on the leaves to kill minor aches and pains and provide energy and focus for a long work day.  Kratom is used by 10-15 million Americans every day and those numbers are growing.  There is no evidence that Kratom is dangerous in its pure form and if there is any addiction from it, it would be similar to withdrawal from caffeine.  Visit our website at to learn more.

author avatar
Bill DiStasio
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